How Much Does the Federal Government Spend to Promote Economic Mobility and for Whom?

Source: C. Eugene Steuerle, Gillian Reynolds, and Adam Carasso, Economic Mobility Project, February 4, 2008

Today, the Economic Mobility Project released a report on the federal government’s investment in economic mobility. The report, authored by C. Eugene Steuerle and Gillian Reynolds of The Urban Institute and Adam Carasso of the New America Foundation, finds that while the federal government makes a significant investment in economic mobility ($746 billion or 5.7 percent of GDP in 2006) the majority of that investment goes to middle and upper income households. Less than one-third (27 percent) of federal mobility spending goes to lower income households. While these households do benefit from many other federal programs, those programs generally are not aimed at promoting mobility and sometimes even discourage it. Between 2006 to 2012, under current law programs targeted to lower income households would decline as a percentage of GDP, while those targeted to the rich would increase over the same period.

Key Findings

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